Cash flow

Consolidated cash flow statement

Shown below is a summary of the cash flow statement for 2020.

€ million



Cash flow from operating activities



Cash flow from investing activities



Cash flow from financing activities




Net cash flow



The cash flow from operating activities in 2020 amounted to €634 million (2019: €638 million). This lower operating cash flow is mainly due to the lower profit, which is partly compensated by lower interest and income tax payments.

The cash outflow from investing activities in 2020 amounted to €775 million, which is a €60 million improvement on 2019. This has three causes:

    1. The increase in (gross) investments of €50 million for property, plant and equipment. These are disclosed below.

    2. This is offset by higher customer contributions of €50 million.

    3. The acquisition of TReNT in 2020, which had a negative impact of €60 million on the investment cash flow. 


Despite a decrease in investments in gas networks and the completion of the large-scale roll-out of the smart meter, the total level of investments has risen by €210 million in the past five years, an increase of 31%. This is almost entirely due to the increased investments in the electricity networks in response to new home construction and the increasing demand for connections for solar farms and wind turbines. Besides rolling out new and heavier-duty cables, we are building new electrical substations and expanding existing ones. Investments in the gas networks show a decrease of 59% compared to 2016, which is largely in line with expectations. The investment in the smart meters has been at a high level for a number of years, peaking at €137 million in 2018. This large-scale roll-out is now being phased out, resulting in investments in 2020 that are €30 million lower than in 2019. In the ‘Buildings, IT, etc. category’, over the last two years, there has also been an increase in the investments in telecommunications networks (both fibre optic networks and mobile data communications). The relatively high investment figures in the years 2016 and 2017 are the result of the renovation of the buildings in Duiven and Bellevue.

Free cash flow

€ million



Cash flow from operating activities



Acquisition of associate



Investments and divestments in non-current assets



Construction contributions received




Free cash flow



The free cash flow in 2020 totalled €141 million negative, compared with a free cash flow in 2019 of €75 million negative. This is due to both the lower profit in 2020 and the higher investment level.

If we were to include the dividend payment in 2020 (€114 million) and the interest payments to the holders of the subordinated perpetual bond loan, the free cash flow in 2020 would amount to €263 million negative (2019: €233 million negative). This negative cash flow was financed by the issue of a €500 million green bond, private placement of green bonds for a total of €100 million and a €125 million private loan.

At year-end 2020 the cash flow from financing activities was €286 million positive (2019: €88 million positive). Disregarding the dividend payment and the payment to bondholders (total: €122 million), financing amounts to €408 million. Of this amount, €146 million was added to cash and cash equivalents, the remainder led directly to an increase in our net debt position.

A €500 million green bond issued by Alliander in June 2020 is one element of the financing cash flow. This is our third issue of this type of bond to date. Proceeds from the previous green bond loans were used to finance the sustainable refurbishment of our Duiven offices and to buy smart meters, among other initiatives. Funds raised through this Green Bond will be used primarily for investments in network upgrades as part of the energy transition.